Yesterday I went to see the one day extension of Thierry Guetta’s Art Show 2011 in West Hollywood. The show had originally been open in LA from December 25-19, but because of it’s tremendous success they brought it back for one more day, so I lucked out!
The street artist, better known by the name Mr. Brainwash gained both fame and criticism from the 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.
He bought the 80,000 square foot abandoned warehouse on the corner or Romaine and La Brea. After extensive repairs on the old industrial building, Mr. Brainwash opened the space up in early October to any artists who wanted to contribute to the show, hence emphasizing the grassroots nature of the street art movement that is taking the world by storm. Talented street artists throughout LA had the opportunity to work among their peers and display their art without fear of legal action.
Mr. Brainwash’s main talent is is tremendous enthusiasm and great desire to entertain people. He wanted Art Show 2011 to be a joyous, interactive event put on purely for the enjoyment of viewers, not to sell art. He gave away thousands of posters, signed autographs, encouraged people to take stuffed animals, and had a local band preform hourly. This brought some of the focus away from the art itself and transformed it into a more experiential event.
The four viewable floors were filled with large scale sculptures, graffiti, and art-ified everyday objects. True to his “pop art meets street art” theme, he featured many famous figures and logos in his work. Local artists of the Seventh Letter crew spray painted all of the stairways, further attesting to Guetta’s desire to encourage various artists to collaborate in his Populism-driven show.
While I was there with Goose, Guetta locked himself on one of the balconies, while he proceeded to climb onto a billboard and add his own spontaneous addition to a billboard. He also had Street Drum Corps. perform every hour within one of the spray painted alcoves. Guetta seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself as he videotaped the drummers, signed autographs, and posed for pictures.
The controversial artist, who some would even argue is not an artist at all, is certainly a gifted entertainer who knows how to attract crowds and give them something worth talking about. I can’t thank Goose enough for sacrificing his Sunday football schedule to come check out this art show with me. Although the art itself appeared rather uninspired and mass-produced, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and made me even more thankful to live in this amazing city, where there’s always something new to see!